(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s two biggest airlines are in advanced talks to buy aircraft from Airbus SE and Boeing Co., with announcements possible as soon as the Paris Air Show this month, according to people familiar with the matter.
All Nippon Airways is looking to place orders for as many as 50 Airbus A321neo jets, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential deliberations. Japan Airlines Co. is working to secure single-aisle aircraft, including the A321neo, along with Boeing 787 widebodies.
ANA wants to introduce short-to-mid-haul aircraft as part of a plan to exceed its pre-pandemic fleet size by 2030, President Shinichi Inoue said at the IATA annual general meeting in Istanbul. He declined to comment on specific interest in future aircraft orders.
The airline is looking to replace its fleet of older Boeing 767s, a midsize widebody no longer being made for passenger use, and its remaining 737s, the people said.
In a separate response to a request for comment, an airline official said that “ANA can confirm that there is no such fact in regards to the report about the purchase of the A321 aircraft.”
Japan has traditionally been a stronghold for Boeing, which has used the country’s close political and trade ties with the US to build a dominant position among carriers in the market. Airbus has made some inroads in the country, and the A321neo has become one of its best-selling models because it offers range and improved fuel economies over older Boeing jets.
Japan Airlines is seeking successors to its 767 fleet and its remaining 737s. It also wants to phase out the larger 777 model, the people said.
Any narrowbody orders wouldn’t be a direct replacement to JAL’s current 737s and 767s, and the carrier would need some larger aircraft on some routes, requiring a mix, Japan Airlines Senior Vice President Ross Leggett said in an interview.
The A321neo is part of the consideration, he said, declining to comment on specific order plans.
“We’re currently looking at the best mix for us, and it’s an open book,” Leggett said. “We’re going through the feasibility of the number of aircraft we’ll need, and the type of aircraft, and trying to fit that into our future forecast.”
Airbus declined to comment. A Boeing spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Updates with comment from ANA in fifth paragraph.)
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